Ferry Strikes

DAVIDJM
25th November 2005, 21:01
This will be a hotbed of a debate. I saw on the Welsh news tonight that the Irish ferries have gone on strike because of the cheaper crews brought in to man the ships.

gdynia
25th November 2005, 23:00
Cannot see them getting much sympathy from the General Merchant Navy Members as if you go back in History they did not speak up in the General Seamans Strike or when Brittish Shipping went under it was an attitude of Jobs for the Boys

fred henderson
25th November 2005, 23:29
Ireland has been one of the great winners from the EEC. The country's income per head of population is greater than that of UK, Germany or indeed any country in the EEC other than the Netherlands and Denmark. The average in Poland is one third of that in Ireland. As I understand things, the intention is to make the very high wage Irish seaman redundant and replace them with seaman from low wage EEC countries. That is what the EEC is all about.
In the meanwhile the ferry passengers have the alternative of a very low cost flight with Ryanair.

Fred

ruud
26th November 2005, 00:17
Ahoy,

It wasn't all about cheaper foreign crews, also the security guards are involved:
The general secretary of the seamen's union of Ireland, Bob Carrick, said the crews were upset at the presence onboard of security guards, employed by Irish Ferries to oversee the visit of the new staff.
Mr Carrick claimed Irish Ferries had put people on board the ship as normal passengers, who later changed into security guards' uniforms.

'Battle gear'

He told BBC Radio Wales: "These people went into one of the toilets on the ship and changed into what can only be described as battle gear - they came out in flak jackets and all dressed in black.
"The crew got an awful fright - they thought they were terrorists."
He said the crew were happy to sail with foreign crew on board, but not with security guards.
Tony Kelly, marketing director of Irish Ferries, said it was "absolute nonsense" that security guards had been in "battle gear".
"What we did do was place security on board the ships. That was our decision arising from a situation last year when we could not gain access to the ships when a dispute arose," he said.
"The guys concerned had body warmers on them - which is normal apparel - but they do have a uniform to be clear that they are in a security situation."
He said the company had to cut costs or risk going out of business. So we will see what's coming out?

James_C
26th November 2005, 01:19
Fred,
If you feel that what's going on is 'what the EEC is all about' and as such we should encourage it, well, that beggars belief.
Sure, the Poles get paid less than the Irish, but their cost of living is MUCH MUCH lower.
So sure, the Polish lads do well out of it, but what about the Irish seaman who are now facing life on the dole?
Are those now redundant men what the EEC is all about?

fred henderson
26th November 2005, 14:24
Hi Jim,
I am not supporting the EEC, but we need to be realistic about the consequences of membership.
One of the EEC rules is that the nationals of any member country can work in any other EEC country. Another is that any ship from any member state can work on any service within the EEC. Competition lowers prices paid by passengers. The greatest competition however, comes from Ryanair.
The EEC has removed Irish Ferries' duty free income but it has provided the company a lifeline through lower cost seamen. Unless they take this route the company will go bust and the Irish crews will be redundant in any event.
As a result of EEC membership Ireland has a booming economy. There is a great labour shortage in Ireland. At the moment the Irish seaman have every chance of obtaining a shore job. In a few years time the influx of eastern workers may change that picture.
This may seem harsh, but as I said in my earlier post, this situation is what the EEC is about. Any protest should be directed towards the EEC not to Irish Ferries.

Fred

Jeff Egan
26th November 2005, 14:31
There'll be war on when the whole thing blows it's self apart, the EU is the Multi nationals con trick.

cambria49
26th November 2005, 22:13
It should be realised, that 90% of the Irish crew accepted the redundancy offer.

Many have been there for 10 years or more and stood to do very well out of it. I know for a fact that there are some members of management who wished the package was open to them - so good were the terms. No Irish crew member was being forced out - however, if they elected to stay, they would do so under the new conditions.

The problem is that Irish Ferries are trying to bring in a lower pay scale far too late in the game. Stena went through this in 1992 - Irish Ferries didn't. The result, they now have to, and with far greater measures, i.e. non-Irish crews.

There are two sides to this argument.


So sure, the Polish lads do well out of it, but what about the Irish seaman who are now facing life on the dole?
Are those now redundant men what the EEC is all about?

DAVIDJM
27th November 2005, 13:06
Mentioning Polish seaman reminds me that a few years ago the master of the Swansea to Cork ferry was Polish but his wages was about £20 or was it £50 a week and most of that he was sending home to his family. When the crew heard of his low wage they had a whip round for him.

As seamanship is and international profession, its a pity that there wasn’t any regulations on the minimum wage at sea, perhaps then if the shipping companies want to hire crews from another country they will have to pay them the same as there own countrymen.. I know it is financially unfeasible but it would lessen the disgruntlement among crews

gdynia
27th November 2005, 14:56
As most of the shipping companies employ direct thro agencies these days, it has shown over the last several years former Eastern Bloc Seamen are on same wage or similar scale. This is soley down to the agencies cut of the fees paid or monthly wage.

Pat McCardle
29th November 2005, 08:38
Mentioning Polish seaman reminds me that a few years ago the master of the Swansea to Cork ferry was Polish but his wages was about £20 or was it £50 a week and most of that he was sending home to his family. When the crew heard of his low wage they had a whip round for him.

As seamanship is and international profession, its a pity that there wasn’t any regulations on the minimum wage at sea, perhaps then if the shipping companies want to hire crews from another country they will have to pay them the same as there own countrymen.. I know it is financially unfeasible but it would lessen the disgruntlement among crews
I thought the ITF had set a minimum wage?

steve Coombs
30th November 2005, 12:20
Here is a Press release from the Irish Marine Minister Re the Strike

"I have made no secret of my disappointment at the decision made by Irish Ferries to re-flag their vessels and replace their workers in spite of the Labour Court Recommendations on the subject. I met with the management of Irish Ferries before the current dispute and urged them to re-consider their actions and step back from the brink.
It is clear however that the company are determined to proceed with their actions over the objections of Government and the protests of their staff.
The Company have applied to the Department of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources to re-flag their vessels from the Irish to the Cypriot flag. I have sought the advice of the Attorney General on this application and it now appears that once the company supply certain information requested by the Department to support their application I cannot under EU law unreasonably withhold consent for the company's re-flagging application. However the information requested must meet the relevant legal requirements. As Marine Minister it is my intention to call for action at a European level to support maritime employment. The Commission formally withdrew a proposed Manning Directive in August 2004, following a failure to reach agreement at the Council of Ministers and as such only the European Commission can re-introduce this proposal or a similar venture.
However at the EU Transport Ministers meeting scheduled for December 5th I will be calling for the Commission to consider bringing forward new proposals for the Manning Directive. Should the Commission reintroduce this proposal for a European-wide Manning Directive, it will be given very careful consideration by the Irish Government and I will urge our European partners to likewise look favourably upon the proposal in order to protect maritime employment across Europe."
I will also be calling for greater social dialogue at EU level, in support of the EU Commission's call, with a view to reaching agreement on employment arrangements for mariners. If such a consensus were reached, it could be implemented by EU legislation."
Ends

ruud
30th November 2005, 19:10
Ahoy,

Here the latest transport news:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/transport/0,2759,180795,00.html